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Title: Jámí - The Persian Mystics
Author: Davies, Frederick Hadland, Jámí, Nur-addín 'Abd-alrahmán
Language: English
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"With men of light I sought these pearls to string,
The drift of mystics' sayings forth to bring."



In the preparation of this little volume much depended upon the
kindness and generosity of certain Oriental scholars, who have allowed
me to reproduce some of their translations from Jámí. I have attempted
to give their best work in so far as it tends to illustrate the
mystical teaching of the last great poet of Persia.

Once more I am indebted to Mr. E. H. Whinfield for permission to
quote from his translation of the _Lawá'ih_ (Oriental Translation
Fund, New Series, vol. xvi., Royal Asiatic Society, London). I have
to thank Prof. Edward G. Browne for allowing me to use his beautiful
translation from _Yúsuf and Zulaikha_, which I have called "The Coming
of the Beloved." This translation appears, in fuller form, in Prof. E.
G. Browne's article on "Súfíism" in _Religious Systems of the World_
(Sonnenschein). The chapter in the present volume entitled "The Story
of Yúsuf and Zulaikha" originally appeared in the _Orient Review_,
and I am indebted to the editors for their courtesy in allowing me
to reproduce it here. I very much appreciate Mr. E. Edwards's kindly
interest in my work, and for the valuable suggestions he has made from
time to time. I tender my thanks to Messrs. Kegan Paul for allowing me
to make a selection from _Yúsuf and Zulaikha_, translated by the late
Mr. Ralph T. Griffith (Trübner's Oriental Series).

The translations from _Salámán and Absál_ are by Edward FitzGerald,
and those from the _Baháristán_ were originally published by the Kama
Shastra Society.

                                                 F. HADLAND DAVIS







The object of the editors of this series is a very definite one. They
desire above all things that, in their humble way, these books shall be
the ambassadors of good-will and understanding between East and West,
the old world of Thought, and the new of Action. In this endeavour,
and in their own sphere, they are but followers of the highest example
in the land. They are confident that a deeper knowledge of the great
ideals and lofty philosophy of Oriental thought may help to a revival
of that true spirit of Charity which neither despises nor fears the
nations of another creed and colour.

                                       L. CRANMER-BYNG.
                                         S. A. KAPADIA.

           KENSINGTON, S.W.



Nur-addín 'Abd-alrahmán Jámí was born in Jám[1] the 23rd of Sha'bán,
817, A.H. (Nov. 7, 1414 A.D.), and died at Herát the 18th of Muharram,
898 A.H. (NOV. 9, 1492 A.D.). Dr. Hermann Ethé gives Khasjird, near
Jám, as the birthplace of the poet; but as Jámí himself refers more
than once to the fact of Jám being his birthplace, we must give the
poet the benefit of the doubt and I trust to his good memory in the
matter. The fact that Jám and Khasjird are in close proximity I has
probably given rise to confusion in the matter. It will be evident that
the poet took his name from the first-mentioned town.

In 822 A.H. Khwájah Mohammad Pársá happened to pass through the little
town of Jám, _en route_ for Hijàz. A great concourse of people came out
to do the holy man honour, and among them was the little boy, Jámí, and
his father. A pretty story is told of how Jámí's father seated his son
in front of Khwájah's litter. I do not think the little fellow laughed
very much, as most boys would have done on such a joyous occasion,
because Jámí, writing on his impression of that day sixty years after,
tells us that "The pure refulgence of his (Mohammad Pársá's) beaming
countenance is even now, as then, clearly visible to me, and my heart
still feels the joy I experienced from that happy meeting. I firmly
believe that that bond of union, friendship, confidence, and love,
which subsequently bound the great body of pious spirits to this humble
creature, is wholly due to the fortunate influence of his glance, and
most devoutly do I trust that the auspiciousness of this union may
cause me to be ranked among the number of his friends." Jámí seems to
have had much faith in the contact with holy men, and he attached much
importance to a certain Shaikh who took him on his knee as a child.
This very estimable reverence for holy men and holy things must ever
remain as one of the poet's finest characteristics. We can, however,
never say of Jámí that he was a man of wide sympathy. He was kind and
generous towards the poor and needy; but he lamentably failed where,
perhaps, he should have shone most, namely, among the literary men of
his own period. He too frequently displayed a fighting spirit, where
tolerance and a willingness to admit of another point of view would
have shown to greater advantage.

Jámí commenced his education at Herát. He strongly objected to the
disciplinary methods of instruction, was not studious as a boy, and
preferred games rather than the study of books. But he was naturally
clever, naturally quick at absorbing knowledge with a minimum of
labour. It is said of him that he used to snatch a book from one of his
fellow students while on his way to school and excel them all when they
were examined in class.

Jámí soon left his instructor Mullá Junaid and became a pupil of
Khwájah 'Alí al-Samarqandi. Jámí was so brilliant a scholar that
after forty lessons further instruction from his master was quite
unnecessary. After attending a series of lectures by Qazí Rúm, at
Samarqand, he succeeded in getting the best of an argument with the
learned professor who had given the lectures. It might have been
expected that the defeat of an older man of letters than Jámí would
have produced ill-feeling; but quite the contrary was the case.
Qazí Rúm, before a large assembly, described Jámí thus: "Since the
building of this city, no one equal, in sharpness of intellects and
power of using them, to young Jámí, has ever crossed the Oxus and
entered Samarqand." This was high praise indeed; but though it awakens
our admiration, the fact that he dispensed with "home-work" while
at school, scanned his lessons while walking past the rose-gardens,
bettered his instructor in an argument, and in every way shone as a
most clever young man, because he simply could not help being anything
else, makes him not one whit dearer to our hearts if we expect from him
something more than cleverness. Jámí had not that greatness of soul
whereby to counteract the deterrent effect his conspicuous success
might have upon him. In these early days of too youthful recognition we
find Jámí infected with that disease commonly known as "swelled head,"
from which the poet never recovered. We see him too often as a little
tin-god denying, with the exception of his father, all indebtedness to
others for his noteworthy erudition--an absurd attitude for any one
to take. He remarks: "I have found no master with whom I have read,
superior to myself. On the contrary I have invariably found that,
in argument, I could defeat them all. I acknowledge, therefore, the
obligations of a pupil to his master to none of them; for if I am the
pupil of any one, it is of my father who taught me the language." This
blatantly conceited attitude is both disappointing and surprising
when we remember first, that Jámí was a professed Súfí, the follower
of a teaching the tenets of which are the abandonment of self and the
knowledge of God only. Second, that Jámí had a very decided sense of
humour, strongly in evidence in the "Sixth Garden" of his _Baháristán_,
so delightfully entitled: "Blowing of the zephyrs of wit and the
breezes of jocular sallies, which cause the buds of the lips to laugh
and the flowers of the hearts to bloom." From these two things alone we
might have expected a finer and nobler character. We must be, however,
content with the life of a great literary egoist, abandon sentiment,
and remember only that he has left to posterity the most polished of
Persian poetry.

Jámí's acceptance of Súfíism was brought about through a vision in
which S'ad al-Dín appeared to him and said: "Go, O child! and wait
on one who is indispensable to you." As this message was delivered
by a spirit Jámí appears to have taken no objection to the word
"indispensable"; but on the contrary, obeyed the command and went to
S'ad al-Dín for spiritual instruction. Under this holy man Jámí lived
the life of a rigid ascetic. So devoutly and so strenuously did Jámí
perform his penances that when S'ad al-Dín thought fit to lessen them
and allow Jámí to mix with society again, the poet found that he had
lost his power of eloquence, for which he had been so justly famed,
and it was some considerable time before he regained his position as a
great master of rhetoric.

I have already said that Jámí showed a very strong liking for holy
and pious men. Particularly might be mentioned Shams al-Dín Mohammad
Asad and 'Ubaid Ullah Ahrár. The last mentioned alludes to Jámí as
the "flood of light," and to himself as the "small lamp." But Jámí,
nevertheless, was not very optimistic in his views regarding other
people. "Alas," said he, "I can find no seekers after _Truth_. Seekers
there are, but they are seekers of their own prosperity."

It was while making a pilgrimage to Mecca that Jámí suffered
considerably from the mutilation of a passage from his _Silsilah
al-Dhahab_, a passage purposely borrowed from Qazí Azád. The mutilation
was performed by N'imat-i Haidarí, a native of Jám, who had accompanied
Jámí to Baghdad, had quarrelled, and left the little band and some
Moslims of another order. The partially suppressed passage was shown to
some of the Shí'a as the work of Jámí. The poet and his followers met
with a heated dispute from the people of Baghdad. Finally a meeting was
called in the Madrassah of the town. A large number of excited people
attended. The Hanafi and Sháfi'í churches were represented, and in
front of their respective representatives sat the Governor. When the
_Silsilah al-Dhahab_ was perused the piece of deception was discovered,
namely, that the beginning and end had been suppressed, and a passage
added likely to offend the people of Baghdad. Peace was once more
restored. Jámí, however, felt justified in punishing the originators
of the plot. N'imat-i Haidarí had his moustache very unceremoniously
cut off, and was commanded to forfeit a pious garb with the crushing
remark: "It will be necessary for you to recommend yourself to some
holy man of the day, who, peradventure, may yet put you on the right
way." This man's brother, who had also offended, was forced to wear
a fool's cap and to ride on an ass with his head facing the animal's
tail, amid the none too complimentary remarks of the Baghdad people.

Although Jámí, in spite of the incident mentioned above, remained in
Baghdad four months, he never forgot the insult, and expressed himself
bitterly on the subject in some of his poetry.

We then find our poet continuing his journey to Mecca, and both on his
way to the holy city of Islam and upon his return therefrom, he met
with cordial receptions from the people, who came out to do him honour.
On one occasion, however, while Jámí stayed at Aleppo the Sultán of Rúm
sent a messenger with a present of five thousand pieces of gold if Jámí
would consent to visit Constantinople. The messenger came to Damascus
only to find that Jámí had recently vacated it. The poet, hearing of
the Sultán of Rúm's intentions, and wishing to avoid his munificence,
took his departure to Tabríz. At this town Hasan Beg, the Governor of
Kurdistan, made repeated overtures to try and persuade the poet to
reside in his capital. But Jámí, making the excuse that he wished to
visit his aged mother, journeyed to Khorasan. Fate, however, ordained
honours and showers of gold for the none too grateful or needy Jámí,
and at Khorasan he was again the recipient of many costly presents.

Jámí, probably wearied with the continual adulation which he had
everywhere received, now retired from public life. At this juncture
little is recorded of him, and here we must leave him with one anecdote
which will serve to show his ready wit: "You (_i.e._ God) so occupy my
whole thoughts and vision, that whatsoever comes into view from afar
appears to me to be You." "What," said a sharp contemporary, "if a
jackass were to come into view?" "It would appear to me to be _you_!"
was Jámí's prompt reply.


In this beautiful little allegory, the meaning of which is so obvious
that Jámí need not have explained it in his Epilogue, we read of the
Shah of Yunan. He was a king ever wisely counselled by a sage who kept
the Tower of Wisdom, and might be therefore reasonably supposed to be a
fit and able personage to have about the king's person. However, this
sage was also a cynic.

One day, after the king had poured forth a very beautiful lament on
his childless marriage, and had concluded by remarking that a son was
"man's prime desire," the keeper of the Tower of Wisdom supplemented
his lord's remarks by describing woman as "A foolish, faithless thing,"
and marriage made miserable by "One little twist of temper." If the
sage succeeded in frightening the king with his tirade on earthly
marriage, he was certainly not successful in quelling the king's desire
for a son. Of course in allegories nothing is impossible, and we are
not at all surprised to find that the king's wish was fulfilled by
magic! The fond father named his son Salámán and chose Absál for his

Absál seems to have been delighted with her charge:

    As soon as she had opened eyes on him,
    She closed those eyes to all the world beside.

By this we might well infer that Absál was a most estimable nurse.
It so happened, however, that her eyes remained closed to everything
else but her charge to such an alarming extent that when Salámán
was fourteen years old she revealed herself, with many subtle,
Zulaikha-like wiles, as his devoted lover.

After the young people had spent a joyous year together, the knowledge
of their attachment came to the ears of the king. That wise ruler
duly admonished his wayward son and suggested hunting in preference
to "dalliance unwise." The sage added his profound wisdom, as was his
wont. These admonitions only resulted in the lovers fleeing the city.
Across desert and sea they went until they came to a most wonderful
island, the island of all earthly delights.

In the meantime the Shah became aware of his son's "Soul-wasting
absence." The much troubled king looked into a mirror, "Reflecting all
the world," and saw the lovers on their beautiful island, "Looking
only in each other's eyes, and r never finding any sorrow there." The
old king, remembering, perhaps, his early days, pitied them at first.
But human pity is usually short-lived. Day after day seeing the same
lovelorn objects in the magic mirror, he grew very angry and decided
to make the lovers' embraces impossible in future. The king succeeded
in casting a spell and also in revealing his face to his son, which
so pricked the young man's conscience that he and Absál left their
beautiful island and returned to their city. But here Salámán was torn
with conflicting thoughts about his beloved Absál. Memories of the
island garden came back to him again. In this melancholy state of mind
the lovers again journeyed forth into the desert, this time to cut down
branches and burn themselves to death. "Hand in hand they sprang into
the fire." While one little hand slipped away from its hold and one
fair body fell among the flames, Salámán remained unscathed.

It was after this sad scene that the sage explained the nature of
Celestial Love, and revealed to Salámán's weary eyes the beautiful
goddess, Zuhrah. Little by little Salámán came to regard his old
earthly love as "The bondage of Absál," a thing merely of the senses,
whereas this new Knowledge, this Love, belonged to the "Harvest of
Eternity." And so this beautiful little poem, to put it as briefly as
possible, tells of the love that binds and fetters and is corruptible,
and of that other Love that is Incorruptible.


The _Lawá'ih_, or "Flashes of Light," is a theological treatise based
on Súfíism, and is a book of immense importance to the student of
Mysticism. It will afford him a very interesting and striking parallel
to Neo-Platonism (Plotinus in particular), and also to some of the
Buddhistic teachings. As I have treated the subject of Súfíism, or
Persian Mysticism, elsewhere,[2] I need add but few words to this
particular volume of Súfí lore.

The keynote to the _Lawá'ih_ is to be found in Jámí's preface. He
describes the work as "Explanatory of the intuitions and verities
displayed on the pages of the hearts and minds of men of insight and
divine knowledge." After a request to his readers to refrain from
"cavilling and animadversion," he continues, this time in verse:

    Believe me, I am naught--yea, less than naught.
    By naught and less than naught what can be taught?

    I tell the mysteries of truth, but know
    Naught save the telling to this task I brought.
         * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    With men of light I sought these pearls to string,
    The drift of mystics' sayings forth to bring.

The _Lawá'ih_, expounds some very beautiful and very ennobling truths.
In "Flash II." Jámí pleads for the love of One and the abandonment of
all little earthly loves that distract the attention of the lover for
his Beloved--precisely the same theme as that expressed in _Salámán
and Absál_. The poet loudly condemns "Hell-born vanity" and the
accumulation of worldly wisdom, even all learning except "The lore of
God." It would be a strange theme for a poet to so persistently choose
were not Jámí a mystic. With the "Inner light" of the true mystic he
sets aside the things of the world as being unsatisfactory. He does
not, however, merely pull down the fading, ever vanishing vanities of
the world, but with the strong clear voice of the poet-prophet, he

    The fleeting phantoms you admire to-day
    Will soon at Heaven's behest be swept away.
    O give your heart to Him who never fails,
    Who, ever with you, and will ever stay.

Jámí advocates, as others have done before him, the destruction of self
in order to gain knowledge of Very Being, "Until He mingles Himself
with thy soul, and thine own individual existence passes out of thy
sight." The poet also discusses the question of matter being _maya_--
I delusion, the ceaseless round of "Accidents," the I ever coming and
vanishing media for the revelations of the Beloved.

The _Lawá'ih_ should be studied in conjunction with Mahmud Shabistari's
_Gulshan-i-Raz_[3] or "The Mystic Rose Garden." The main teaching of
both these books is that the indwelling of God I in the soul can only
take place when that soul realises that self is a delusion, that things
of this I world are but phantom-pictures coming and going, as it were,
upon the surface of a mirror:

    Go, sweep out the chamber of your heart,
    Make it ready to be the dwelling-place of the Beloved.
    When you depart out, He will enter in,
    In you, void of _yourself_, will He display His beauty.[4]

The phenomenal world to the Súfí was nothing more than an
ever-recurring process of genesis and end: union with the Divine,
annihilation of that process. The _Lawá'ih_ is deeply spiritual
throughout, and full of an almost pathetic pity for those who delight
in worldly pleasures and find no joy in contemplating Union with the

Jámí, after having spent considerable care on his _Lawá'ih_, and after
his reader has made a strenuous effort to catch a momentary glimpse of
his visionary meaning, concludes:

    Jámí, leave polishing of phrases, cease
    Writing and chanting fables, hold thy peace;
    Dream not that "Truth" can be revealed by words:
    From this fond dream, O dreamer, find release!
           * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    How long wilt thou keep clanging like a bell?
    Thou'lt never come to hold the pearl of "Truth"
    Till thou art made all ear, as is the shell.

And here we see the great mystical poet sitting, like a little child
listening to a tale that is told, quelled into reverential silence by
the greatness of the theme. It is in silence, in the quiet places of
our hearts, rather than on the housetops of much controversy, that we
can hear the sweet call of the Beloved and forget the clanging of the
world in the Great Peace which He alone can give.


_Yúsuf and Zulaikha_, like _Salámán and Absál,_ belongs to the series
of poems known as the _Haft Aurang_. Jámí heralds his poem with a good
deal of laudacious singing on the Prophet, Beauty, Love, and concludes
by remarking that the loves of Majnún and Laila "have had their day,"
and makes this excuse for weaving another love poem on another theme.
But this scheme was scarcely original, Firdawsí and Ansari having
previously composed poems on a similar subject. However, the tongue of
the critic is surely silenced by these humble lines:

    If here and there a slip or fault you see,
    May he not lay the blame of all on me.
    May he correct my errors, or befriend
    With generous silence faults he cannot mend.

If the work be regarded as a love poem, without its mystical
interpretation, Yúsuf may well be regarded as a cold, statuesque young
man of the St. Anthony type, but cast in a more beautiful mould.
While we may equally well regard Zulaikha as a passionate young lady
sadly lacking in worldly wisdom. The coldness of Yúsuf would probably
irritate us were we not frequently reminded of the way in which poor
Zulaikha plagues him with her too constant attentions. Neither strike
us as being very ordinary human people for precisely reverse reasons.
There are occasions, however, when Zulaikha awakens our sympathy. It is
touching to note that when she finds her own love slighted she should
send other women to try their fortune with him, intending, should they
succeed, to subtly take their place by strategy of some kind. Again,
in the splendid Palace of Pleasure, painted all over, floor and wall
and ceiling, with love-entwined figures of Yúsuf and Zulaikha, there is
an idol--"A golden idol with jewelled eyes," representing this fatuous
woman's love. The idol is placed behind a curtain, and on Yúsuf asking
the reason, Zulaikha replies:

    If I swerve from religion I would not be
    Where the angry eyes of my god may see.

Then we watch the honeyed sweetness of Zulaikha's passion burst forth
into bitter hate and shameless lying. We see the proud, chaste Yúsuf
cast into prison on false pretences and quite melodramatically freed
by the marvellous utterance of a babe at its mother's breast.[5]
But Zulaikha finds the gossip of Memphis hard to be borne--the
insinuations, the sneers, the cruel reproaches for the unrequited and
ill-fated love of hers. Moreover, Zulaikha, like the women of Austria
at the beginning of the eighteenth century,[6] had a husband as well
as a lover, Potiphar, Grand Vizier of Egypt. These two concocted a
scandalous story, which was easily set going and as easily believed by
the common people. It resulted in Yúsuf being again sent to prison. At
this point of the poem we are once more reminded of the Bible story of
Joseph, for Jámí also mentions the interpretation of Pharaoh's dream,
the release of the interpreter, and the unlimited power as the king's
right hand that followed.

So we watch Yúsuf rise from slave to be the king's chief adviser, and
in consequence the fall of the Grand Vizier and Zulaikha. The success
of Yúsuf awakens little admiration. He is so far from being human that
we should not have been very surprised if he had eaten one of the

But Zulaikha's condition is to be pitied. She is now a widow. Her
jewels are gone, her dress is in rags, there are wrinkles in her once
beautiful face, and her back is bent. But more than all these trials is
the loss of her eyesight. We see her crouching in the road, listening
eagerly for the sound of the coming of the proud Yúsuf on his wonderful
steed,[7] happy to feel the dust of his passing procession. There is a
note of real pathos in this scene. We see for the first time, perhaps,
that Zulaikha's passion is changing into a fairer, nobler thing.
Sometimes the boys who preceded Yúsuf would shout to her as she sat by
her cottage of reeds, "Yúsuf is nigh!" But Zulaikha's heart, sore and
hungry and yearning, knew better than they the approach of her lord.
The eyes that had seen the Palace of Pleasure saw more now that they
were blind! And yet the old passion had not quite burnt itself out. We
see the bent form crouching on the ground, feeling the statue of her
Yúsuf with her thin, trembling fingers, and piteously praying for some

The sound of Yúsuf's steed is heard in the distance, and a great shout
rends the air: "Make room! Make room!" Zulaikha again crouches in the
roadway. How long has she "made room" for the selfish and unfeeling
ambitions of a man who was once her pampered slave! It is then, for the
first time, that the soul of Zulaikha asserts itself and the mysticism
of the poem becomes strongly evident. The material spell of a fleshly
love is broken at last. In humility and absolute resignation Zulaikha
shatters her once dear idol, destroys a sordid and hopeless dream. Her
red rose of passion is turned into a white one, as she fervently cries:

    O God, who lovest the humble, Thou
    To whom idols, their makers, their servants bow;
    'Tis to the light which Thy splendour lends
    To the idol's face that its worshipper bends.

Still more triumphant are her words:

    Glory to God! to a monarch's state
    He has cast the king from his glory down,
    And set on the head of a servant his crown.

These words sufficiently interest Yúsuf to ask, "Who is this
bedeswoman?" and eventually to win an interview for the poor "Unpitied,
forgotten, disgraced woman." Yúsuf does not proceed to moralise; but he
does not dispense with frigid formalities beyond calling her Zulaikha
and offering, in a studied kind of way, to do anything for her that she
may desire. Zulaikha asks for beauty, youth, and the power to win his
love. Yúsuf grants her first two wishes, and the decrepit old woman
is changed into the ravishingly beautiful Zulaikha of eighteen. But
Yúsuf,[8] cold even now, in silence turns in prayer to Heaven, and
takes Gabriel's word rather than his own conviction that he is doing
well to marry her at last.

Here the late Mr. Ralph Griffith's translation of _Yúsuf and Zulaikha_
ends, and the curious and farseeing might be pardoned for conjecturing
an unhappy marriage under these remarkably one-sided circumstances.
But in the original the poem does not end here. For the advantage of
optimistic believers in marriage, I may add that these two people
had an almost unending honeymoon. Remarkable as it may appear,
Zulaikha actually became religious, for which altogether wonderful
and unexpected event the now kindly Yúsuf built her a most beautiful
House of Prayer. The canto entitled "The Longed-for Death" is a little
disconcerting, perhaps, but we may reasonably suppose that Yúsuf became
religious too, and was not in any way uncomplimentary to his beautiful
bride. His death was well arranged, and he was shortly joined by the
soul of Zulaikha.

This, then, is & brief sketch of _Yúsuf and Zulaikha_. Like _Salámán
and Absál_ it is intended to reveal the beauty of the Beloved; that
He can be only approached after much purification, when the physical
form ceases to blind the soul's outlook, and only when we realise that
passion is an idol that must be broken, and Love the pure Light that
shines alone from Him.


The _Baháristán_, or "Abode of Spring," is admitted by Jámí to be
an imitation of Sa'di's _Gulistán_, or "Rose Garden." The idea of
arranging a book of verse and prose into a series of "Gardens" was
a very beautiful one. Two other books compiled on similar lines are
Sa'di's _Bústán_, or "Orchard," and the _Nigaristán_, or "Picture
Gallery," by Mu'in-uddin Jawini, which appeared in 1334 A.D. Sir
Edwin Arnold's _With Sa'di in a Garden_ gives the Westerner some
idea of the beauty of Eastern gardens, and this particular garden is
rendered all the more delectable because it holds a greater beauty
than the loveliest garden, the Taj Mahal itself. Sir Edwin transfers
Persian poetry to an Indian garden, which is not very dissimilar to
the beautiful gardens of Shiraz. Professor A. V. Williams Jackson[9]
describes the _Bagh-i-Takht_, "Garden of the Throne," thus: "Terrace
rises above terrace, and fountain, channel, and stream pour their
waters in cascades over slabs of marble into reservoirs faced with
stone--the walks bordered with cypress and orange trees." It would be
interesting to know if the terraces in any way corresponded with the
idea of naming and numbering the "Gardens" in Jámí's _Baháristán._ A
beautiful mosque, a bower of roses, running water; might not these
things alone have suggested to the poet's mind "The pavilion of
Excellency, Love, and Laughter?"

The _Baháristán_ has a distinct interest apart from its literary merit.
It appears to have been written by Jámí for the instruction of his
"darling and beloved son Ziá-uddin-Yúsuf." The poet-father goes on to
say, "That young boys and inexperienced youths become very disheartened
and unhappy when they receive instruction in idiomatic expressions
they are not accustomed to." Although Jámí allowed his son to read the
_Gulistán_, he evidently thought the last word had not yet been written
in the interests of instructing the young, and thus conceived the idea
of writing the _Baháristán_.

One is so apt to see printed requests in the public gardens of England
that it seems a little ironical to come across the following in the
literary "Gardens" of Jámí: "It is requested that the promenaders
in these gardens--which contain no thorns to give offence, nor
rubbish displayed for interested purposes,--walking through them with
sympathetic steps and looking at them carefully, will bestow their good
wishes, and rejoice with praise the gardener who has spent much trouble
and great exertions in planning and cultivating these gardens." In
regard to the statement that the _Gardens_ "contain no Thorns to give
offence," I, for one, must beg to differ. One ugly weed there is which
the gardener would have done well to destroy in his otherwise very
beautiful garden.

The _Baháristán_ is divided into eight "Gardens." The _First_ deals
with the sayings and doings of the saintly, wise, and those "who occupy
the chief seats in the pavilion of Excellency." The _Second_ with
philosophical subtleties. The _Third_ with Justice, Equity, Government,
and Administration, and in general "to show the wisdom of Sultáns." The
_Fourth_ with Liberality and Generosity. The _Fifth_ with Love. The
_Sixth_ with "Blowing of the zephyrs of wit, and the breezes of jocular
sallies, which cause the buds of the lips to laugh and the flowers of
the hearts; to bloom." The _Seventh_ with a selection from the work of
Persian poets. The _Eighth_, and last, with animal stories.

[Footnote 1: See Preface to _Lives of the Mystics_. By Nassan Lees.
Calcutta, 1859.]

[Footnote 2: _The Persian Mystics_: Jalálu'd-Dín Rúmí. "Wisdom of the
East" Series.]

[Footnote 3: See E. H. Whinfield's translation.]

[Footnote 4: _Gulshan-i-Raz_. Translated by E. H. Whinfield.]

[Footnote 5: Compare the miraculous speaking of the babe Jesus in a
cave, mentioned in the New Testament Apocryphal Writings.]

[Footnote 6: See the Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.]

[Footnote 7: Compare Firdawsí's description of the horse Rakush in
the _Shahnámá_. Also Kyrat, the wonderful steed of the bandit-poet,

[Footnote 8: Compare Rama's attitude after the destruction of Lanka.]

[Footnote 9: _Persia Past and Present. A Book of Travel and Research._]


    The guests have drunk the wine and are departed,
    Leaving their empty bowls behind--not one
    To carry on the revel, cup in hand!
    Up, Jámí, then! And whether lees or wine
    To offer--boldly offer it in thine!
    And yet, how long, Jámí, is this old house
    Stringing thy pearls upon a harp of song?
    Year after year striking up some new song,
    The breath of some old story? Life is gone,
    And yet the song is not the last; my soul
    Is spent--and still a story to be told!
                                  SALÁMÁN AND ABSÁL.


    O Thou, whose memory quickens lovers' souls,
    Whose fount of joy renews the lover's tongue,
    Thy shadow falls across the world, and they
    Bow down to it; and of the rich in beauty
    Thou art the riches that make lovers mad.
    Not till Thy secret beauty through the cheek
    Of Laila smite does she inflame Majnún,
    And not till Thou have sugar'd Shírín's lip
    The hearts of those two lovers fill with blood.
    For lov'd and lover are not but by Thee,
    Nor beauty; mortal beauty but the veil
    Thy heavenly hides behind, and from itself
    Feeds, and our hearts yearn after as a bride
    That glances past us veil'd--but even so
    As none the beauty from the veil may know.
    How long wilt Thou continue thus the world
    To cozen with the phantom of a veil
    From which Thou only peepest?--Time it is
    To unfold Thy perfect beauty. I would be
    Thy lover, and Thine only--I, mine eyes
    Seal'd in the light of Thee to all but Thee,
    Yea, in the revelation of Thyself
    Self-lost, and conscience-quit of good and evil.
    Thou movest under all the forms of truth,
    Under the forms of all created things;
    Look whence I will, still nothing I discern
    But Thee in all the universe.


    O thou whose wisdom is the rule of kings--
    (Glory to God who gave it!)--answer me:
    Is any blessing better than a son?
    Man's prime desire; by which his name and he
    Shall live beyond himself; by whom his eyes
    Shine living, and his dust with roses blows;
    A foot for thee to stand on he shall be,
    A hand to stop thy falling; in his youth
    Thou shalt be young, and in his strength be strong;
    Sharp shall he be in battle as a sword,
    A cloud of arrows on the enemy's head;
    His voice shall cheer his friends to better plight,
    And turn the foeman's glory into flight.


    Lust that makes blind the reason; lust that makes
    A devil's self seem angel to our eyes;
    A cataract that, carrying havoc with it,
    Confounds the prosperous house; a road of mire
    Where whoso falls he rises not again;
    A wine of which whoever tastes shall see
    Redemption's face no more--one little sip
    Of that delicious and unlawful drink,
    Making crave much, and hanging round the palate
    Till it become a ring to lead thee by
    (Putting the rope in a vain woman's hand),
    Till thou thyself go down the Way of Nothing.


    As soon as she had opened eyes on him,
    She closed those eyes to all the world beside,
    And her soul crazed, a-doting on her jewel,--
    Her jewel in a golden cradle set;
    Opening and shutting which her day's delight,
    To gaze upon his heart-inflaming cheek--
    Upon the darling whom, could she, she would
    Have cradled as the baby of her eye.
    In rose and musk she wash'd him--to his lips
    Press'd the pure sugar from the honeycomb;
    And when, day over, she withdrew her milk,
    She made, and having laid him in, his bed,
    Burn'd all night like a taper o'er his head.

    Then still as morning came, and as he grew,
    She dressed him like a little idol up;
    On with his robe--with fresh collyrium dew
    Touch'd his narcissus eyes--the musky locks
    Divided from his forehead--and embraced
    With gold and ruby girdle his fine waist.


    Sat a lover solitary
    Self-discoursing in a corner,
    Passionate and ever-changing
    Invocation pouring out:
    Sometimes sun and moon; and sometimes
    Under hyacinth half-hidden
    Roses; or the lofty cypress,
    And the little weed below.
    Nightingaling thus a noodle
    Heard him, and, completely puzzled,--
    "What!" quoth he, "and you, a lover,
    Raving not about your mistress,
    But about the moon and roses!"

    Answer'd he: "O thou that aimest
    Wide of love, and lover's language
    Wholly misinterpreting;
    Sun and moon are but my lady's
    Self, as any lover knows;
    Hyacinth I said, and meant her
    Hair--her cheek was in the rose--
    And I myself the wretched weed
    That in her cypress shadow grows."


    Now from her hair would twine a musky chain,
    To bind his heart--now twist it into curls
    Nestling innumerable temptations;
    Doubled the darkness of her eyes with surma
    To make him lose his way, and over them
    Adorn'd the bows that were to shoot him then;
    Fresh rose, and then a grain of musk lay there,
    The bird of the beloved heart to snare.
    Now to the rose-leaf of her cheek would add,
    Now with a laugh would break the ruby seal
    That, lockt up pearl; or busied in the room
    Would smite her hand, perhaps--on that pretence
    To lift and show the silver in her sleeve;
    Or hastily rising, dash her golden anklets
    To draw the crowned head under her feet.
    Thus by innumerable bridal wiles
    She went about soliciting his eyes,
    Which she would scarce let lose her for a moment;
    For well she knew that mainly by the eye
    Love makes his sign, and by no other road
    Enters and takes possession of the heart.


    Now when Salámán's heart turned to Absál,
    Her star was happy in the heavens--old Love
    Put forth afresh--Desire doubled his bond:
    And of the running time she watch'd an hour
    To creep into the mansion of her moon
    And satiate her soul upon his lips.
    And the hour came; she stole into his chamber--
    Ran up to him, Life's offer in her hand--
    And, falling like a shadow at his feet,
    She laid her face beneath. Salámán then
    With all the courtesies of princely grace
    Put forth his hand--he rais'd her in his arms--
    He held her trembling there--and from that fount
    Drew first desire; then deeper from her lips,
    That, yielding, mutually drew from his
    A wine that ever drawn from never fail'd.
    So through the day--so through another still.
    The day became a seventh--the seventh a moon--
    The moon a year--while they rejoiced together,
    Thinking their pleasure never was to end.
    But rolling Heaven whisper'd from his ambush,
    "So in my license is it not set down.
    Ah for the sweet societies I make
    At morning and before the nightfall break!
    Ah for that bliss that with the setting sun
    I mix, and, with his rising, all is done!"


    Reason that rights the retrograde--completes
    The imperfect--reason that unites the knot;
    For reason is the fountain from of old
    From which the prophets drew, and none beside.
    Who boasts of other inspiration lies--
    There are no other prophets than the wise.


    O Shah, I am the slave of thy desire,
    Dust of thy throne, ascending foot am I;
    Whatever thou desirest I would do,
    But sicken of my own incompetence;
    Not in the hand of my infirmer will
    To carry into deed mine own desire.
    Time upon time I torture mine own soul,
    Devising liberation from the snare
    I languish in. But when upon that moon
    I _think_, my soul relapses; and when _look_--
    I leave both worlds behind to follow her!


                 Without my lover,
    Were my chamber Heaven's horizon,
    It were closer than an ant's eye;
    And the ant's eye wider were
    Than Heaven, my lover with me there!


    The Almighty hand that mix'd thy dust inscribed
    The character of wisdom on thy heart;
    O cleanse thy bosom of material form,
    And turn the mirror of the soul to spirit,
    Until it be with spirit all possest,
    Crown'd in the light of intellectual truth.
    O veil thine eyes from mortal paramour,
    And follow not her step! For what is she?--
    What is she but a vice and a reproach,
    Her very garment-hem pollution!
    For such pollution madden not thine eyes,
    Waste not thy body's strength, nor taint thy soul,
    Nor set the body and the soul in strife!
    Supreme is thine original degree,
    Thy star upon the top of heaven; but lust
    Will fling it down even unto the dust!


    Whisper'd one to Wámik, "O thou
    Victim of the wound of Azra,
    What is it like, that a shadow
    Movest thou about in silence
    Meditating night and day?"
    Wámik answer'd, "Even this--
    To fly with Azra to the desert:
    There by so remote a fountain
    That, whichever way one travell'd
    League on league, one yet should never,
    Never meet the face of man--
    There to pitch my tent--for ever
    There to gaze on my Belovèd;
    Gaze, till gazing out of gazing
    Grew to being her I gaze on,
    She and I no more, but in one
    Undivided being blended.
    All that is not One must ever
    Suffer with the wound of absence;
    And whoever in Love's city
    Enters, finds but room for One,
    And but in Oneness Union."

    "DO WELL"

    Do well, that in thy turn well may betide thee;
    And turn from ill, that ill may turn beside thee.


    Then bade he bring a mirror that he had,
    A mirror, like the bosom of the wise,
    Reflecting all the world, and lifting up
    The veil from all its secret, good and evil.
    That mirror bade he bring, and, in its face
    Looking, beheld the face of his Desire,
    He saw those lovers in the solitude,
    Turn'd from the world, and all its ways and people,
    And looking only in each other's eyes,
    And never finding any sorrow there.


    O thou whose presence so long sooth'd my soul,
    Now burnt with thy remembrance! O so long
    The light that fed these eyes now dark with tears!
    O long, long home of love now lost for ever!
    We were together--that was all enough--
    We two rejoicing in each other's eyes,
    Infinitely rejoicing--all the world
    Nothing to us, nor we to all the world:
    No road to reach us, nor an eye to watch--
    All day we whisper'd in each other's ears,
    All night we slept in one another's arms--
    All seem'd to our desire, as if the hand
    Of unjust Fortune were for once too short.
    O would to God that when I lit the pyre
    The flame had left thee living and me dead,
    Not living worse than dead, depriv'd of thee!
    O were I but with thee! at any cost
    Stript of this terrible self-solitude!
    O but with thee annihilation--lost,
    Or in eternal intercourse renew'd!


    My son, the kingdom of the world is not
    Eternal, nor the sum of right desire!
    Make thou the faith-preserving intellect
    Thy counsellor; and considering to-day
    To-morrow's seed-field, ere that come to bear
    Sow with the harvest of eternity.


    Believe me, I am naught--yea, less than naught,
    By naught and less than naught what can be taught?
    I tell the mysteries of truth, but know
    Naught save the telling to this task I brought.


      O God, deliver us from preoccupation with worldly
      vanities, and show us the nature of things "as
      they really are." Remove from our eyes the veil
      of ignorance, and show us things as they really
      are. Show not to us non-existence as existent, nor
      cast the veil of non-existence over the beauty of
      existence. Make this phenomenal world the mirror to
      reflect the manifestations of thy beauty, and not
      a veil to separate and repel us from Thee. Cause
      these unreal phenomena of the universe to be for us
      the sources of knowledge and insight, and not the
      cause of ignorance and blindness. Our alienation and
      severance from Thy beauty all proceed from ourselves.
      Deliver us from ourselves, and accord to us intimate
      knowledge of Thee.


    Make my heart pure, my soul from error free,
    Make tears and sighs my daily lot to be,
      And lead me on Thy road away from self,
    That lost to self I may approach to Thee!

    Set enmity between the world and me,
    Make me averse from worldly company:
      From other objects turn away my heart,
    So that it is engrossed with love to Thee.

    How were it, Lord, if Thou should'st set me free
    From error's grasp and cause me truth to see?
      Guebres[1] by scores Thou makest Musulmans,
    Why, then, not make a Musulman of me?

    My lust for this world and the next efface,
    Grant me the crown of poverty and grace
      To be partaker in Thy mysteries,
    From paths that lead not towards Thee turn my face.


    O votary of earthly idols' fane,
    Why let these veils of flesh enwrap thy brain?
      'Tis folly to pursue a host of loves;
    A single heart can but one love contain!

    O thou whose heart is torn by lust for all,
    Yet vainly strives to burst these bonds of all,
      This "all" begets distraction of the heart:
    Give up thy heart to ONE and break with all.[2]


      The Absolute Beauty is the Divine Majesty endued
      with [the attributes of] power and bounty. Every
      beauty and perfection manifested in the theatre of
      the various grades of beings is a ray of His perfect
      beauty reflected therein. It is from these rays that
      exalted souls have received their impress of beauty
      and their quality of perfection. Whosoever is wise
      derives his wisdom from Divine wisdom.


    My love stood by me at the dawn of day,
    And said, "To grief you make my heart a prey
      Whilst I am casting looks of love at you,
    Have you no shame to turn your eyes away?"

    All my life long I tread love's path of pain,
    If peradventure "Union" I may gain.
      Better to catch one moment's glimpse of Thee
    Than earthly beauties' love through life retain.


      Yesterday this universe neither existed nor appeared
      to exist, while to-day it appears to exist but has no
      real existence: it is a mere semblance, and to-morrow
      nothing thereof will be seen. What does it profit
      thee to allow thyself to be guided by vain passions
      and desires? Why dost thou place reliance on these
      transitory objects that glitter with false lustre?
      Turn thy heart away from all of them, and firmly
      attach it to God. Break loose from all these, and
      cleave closely to Him. It is only He who always has
      been and always will continue to be. The countenance
      of His eternity is never scarred by the thorn of


    The Loved One's rose-parterre I went to see,
    That beauty's Torch espied me, and, quoth He,
      "I am the tree; these flowers My offshoots are.
    Let not these offshoots hide from thee the tree."

    What profit rosy cheeks, forms full of grace,
    And ringlets clustering round a lovely face?
      When Beauty Absolute beams all around,
    Why linger finite beauties to embrace?


      In like manner, as it behoves thee to maintain
      the said relation continuously, so it is of the
      first importance to develop one quality thereof by
      detaching thyself from mundane relations and by
      emancipating thyself from attention to contingent
      forms; and this is possible only through hard
      striving and earnest endeavour to expel vain thoughts
      and imaginations from thy mind. The more these
      thoughts are cast out and these suggestions checked,
      the stronger and closer this relation becomes. It
      is, then, necessary to use every endeavour to force
      these thoughts to encamp outside the enclosure of
      thy breast, and that the "Truth" most glorious may
      cast His beams into thy heart, and deliver thee
      from thyself, and save thee from the trouble of
      entertaining His rivals in thy heart. Then there
      will abide with-thee neither consciousness of
      thyself, nor even consciousness of such absence of
      consciousness--nay, there will abide nothing save the
      One God alone.


    In the fair idols, goal of ardent youth,
    And in all cynosures lies hid the "Truth";
      What, seen as relative, appears the world,
    Viewed in its essence is the very "Truth."

    When in His partial modes Truth shone out plain,
    Straightway appeared this world of loss and gain;
      Were it and all who dwell there gathered back
    Into the Whole, the "Truth" would still remain.


    The glorious God, whose bounty, mercy, grace,
    And loving-kindness all the world embrace,
      At every moment brings a world to naught,
    And fashions such another in its place.

    All gifts soever unto God are due,
    Yet special gifts from special "Names" ensue;
      At every breath one "Name" annihilates,
    And one creates all outward things anew.[3]


    "O fairest rose, with rosebud mouth," I sighed,
    "Why, like coquettes, thy face for ever hide?"
      He smiled, "Unlike the beauties of the earth,
    Even when veiled I still may be described."

    Thy face uncovered would be all too bright,
    Without a veil none could endure the sight;
      What eye is strong enough to gaze upon
    The dazzling splendour of the fount of light?

    When the sun's banner blazes in the sky,
    Its light gives pain by its intensity,
      But when 'tis tempered by a veil of cloud
    That light is soft and pleasant to the eye.


      Absolute self-sufficiency is a quality involved in
      Divine Perfection. It signifies this, that in a
      general and universal manner all the modes, states,
      and aspects of the One Real Being, with all their
      adherent properties and qualities, in all their
      presentations, past, present, or future, manifested
      in all grades of substances, divine and mundane, are
      present and realised in the secret thought of that
      Divine Being, in such wise that the sum of them all
      is contained in His Unity. From this point of view
      He is independent of all other existences; as it is
      said, "God most glorious can do without the world."


    O Thou whose sacred precincts none may see,
    Unseen Thou makest all things seen to be;
      Thou and we are not separate, yet still
    Thou hast no need of us, but we of Thee.

    None by endeavour can behold Thy face,
    Or access gain without prevenient grace;
      For every man some substitute is found,
    Thou hast no peer, and none can take Thy place.

    Of accident or substance Thou hast nought,
    Without constraint of cause Thy grace is wrought;
      Thou canst replace what's lost, but if Thou'rt lost,
    In vain a substitute for Thee is sought.

    In me Thy beauty love and longing wrought;
    Did I not seek Thee, how wouldst Thou be sought?
      My love is as a mirror in the which
    Thy beauty into evidence is brought.

    O Lord, none but Thyself can fathom Thee,
    Yet every mosque and church doth harbour Thee;
      I know the seekers and what 'tis they seek--
    Seekers and sought are all comprised in Thee.


      The universe, together with its parts, is nothing
      but a number of accidents, ever changing and being
      renewed at every breath, and linked together in a
      single substance, and at each instant disappearing
      and being replaced by a similar set. In consequence
      of this rapid succession, the spectator is deceived
      into the belief that the universe is a permanent


    The ocean does not shrink or vaster grow,
    Though the waves ever ebb and ever flow;
      The being of the world's a wave: it lasts
    One moment, and the next it has to go.

    In the world, men of insight may discern
    A stream whose currents swirl and surge and churn,
      And from the force that works within the stream
    The hidden working of the "Truth" may learn.


    Philosophers devoid of reason find
    This world a mere idea of the mind;
    'Tis an idea--but they fail to see
    The great Idealist who looms behind.


    Being's a sea in constant billows rolled,
    'Tis but these billows that we men behold;
      Sped from within, they rest upon the sea,
    And like a veil its actual form enfold.

    Being's the essence of the Lord of all,
    All things exist in Him and He in all;
      This is the meaning of the Gnostic phrase,
    "All things are comprehended in the All."


      The Majesty of the "Truth" most glorious is revealed
      in two manners--the first the inward, subjective
      revelation, which the Súfís name "Most Holy
      Emanation"; it consists in the self-manifestation
      of the "Truth" to His own consciousness from all
      eternity under the forms of substances, their
      characteristics and capacities. The second revelation
      is the outward objective manifestation, which
      is called "Holy Emanation"; it consists in the
      manifestation of the "Truth," with the impress of
      the properties and marks of the same substances.
      This second revelation ranks after the first; it
      is the theatre wherein are manifested to sight the
      perfections which in the first revelation were
      contained potentially in the characteristics and
      capacities of the substances.


    Both power and being are denied to us,
    The lack of both is what's ordained for us;
      But since 'tis He who lives within our forms,
    Both power and action are ascribed to us.

    Your "self" is non-existent, knowing one!
    Deem not your actions by yourself are done;
      Make no wry faces at this wholesome truth--
    "Build the wall ere the fresco is begun."

    Why vaunt thy "self" before those jealous eyes?
    Why seek to deal in this false merchandise?
      Why feign to be existent of thyself?
    Down with these vain conceits and foolish lies!


    They say, "How strange! This peerless beauty's face
    Within the mirror's heart now holds a place!"
      The marvel's not the face, the marvel is
    That it should be at once mirror and face.

    All mirrors in the universe I ween
    Display Thy image with its radiant sheen--
      Nay, in them all, so vast Thy effluent grace,
    'Tis Thyself, not Thine image, that is seen.

[Footnote 1: Magians and Zoroastrians.]

[Footnote 2: The first verse belongs to "Flash I.," the second to
"Flash II.," but I have thought it wise to couple them together on
account of the unity of their meaning.]

[Footnote 3: That is to say that a portion of the material world,
through the mercy of God, is capable of receiving Very Being, and
thus the phenomenon becomes Very Being externalised. But Omnipotence
requires the total destruction of all phenomena and all multiplicity of
the same substance. The process is repeated _ad infinitum_.

"The Names" are mentioned in the _Masnavi_. See also Professor R. A.
Nicholson's _Divaní Shamsi Tabríz_, p. 71.]


    Lips sweet as sugar on my pen bestow,
    And from my book let streams of odour flow.
                              YÚSUF AND ZULAIKHA.


    In solitude, where Being signless dwelt,
    And all the universe still dormant lay
    Concealed in selflessness, One Being was
    Exempt from "I" or "Thou"-ness, and apart
    From all duality; Beauty Supreme,
    Unmanifest, except unto Itself
    By Its own lights yet fraught with power to charm
    The souls of all; concealed in the Unseen,
    An Essence pure, unstained by aught of ill.
    No mirror to reflect Its loveliness,
    Nor comb to touch Its locks; the morning breeze
    Ne'er stirred Its tresses; no collyrium
    Lent lustre to Its eyes; no rosy cheeks
    O'ershadowed by dark curls like hyacinth
    Nor peach-like down were there; no dusky mole
    Adorned Its face; no eye had yet beheld
    Its image. To Itself it sang of Love
    In wordless measures. By Itself it cast
    The die of Love. But Beauty cannot brook
    Concealment and the veil, nor patient rest
    Unseen and unadmired; 'twill burst all bonds,
    And from Its prison-casement to the world
    Reveal Itself. See where the tulip grows
    In upland meadows, how in balmy spring
    It decks itself; and how amidst its thorns
    The wild rose rends its garment, and reveals
    Its loveliness. Thou too, when some rare thought,
    Or beauteous image, or deep mystery
    Flashes across thy soul, canst not endure
    To let it pass, but holdst it, that perchance
    In speech or writing thou mayst send it forth
    To charm the world. Whatever beauty dwells,
    Such is its nature, and its heritage
    From Everlasting Beauty, which emerged
    From realms of purity to shine upon
    The worlds, and all the souls which dwell therein.
    One gleam fell from It on the universe
    And on the angels, and this single ray
    Dazzled the angels, till their senses whirled
    Like the revolving sky. In diverse forms
    Each mirror showed it forth, and everywhere
    Its praise was chanted in new harmonies.
    The cherubim, enraptured, sought for songs
    Of praise. The spirits who explore the depths
    Of boundless seas, wherein the heavens swim
    Like some small boat, cried with one mighty voice,
    "Praise to the Lord of all the universe!"


    Behold those spheres for ever circling, bound
    With-scarves of azure, in their mystic round.
    See, their light mantles loosely floating throw
    A flood of radiance on the world below.
    See them pursuing through the night and day,
    True to their purpose, their triumphant way.
    Each, like a player's ball obedient, still
    Is moved and guided by superior will.
    One eastward from the west its journey bends,
    The other's ship to western waves descends.
    Each in due progress with alternate sway
    Lights the still night or cheers the busy day.
    One writes fair lines that promise golden joys:
    One with sad aspect bonds of bliss destroys.
    All, joying in their might, their task renew,
    And with untiring haste their course pursue.
    Onward for ever to the goal they press
    With feet and loins that know not weariness.
    Who learns the secret of their dark intent?
    Who knows on whom each wanderer's face is bent?


    No heart is that which love ne'er wounded: they
    Who know not lovers' pangs are soulless clay.
    Turn from the world, O turn thy wandering feet;
    Come to the world of Love and find it sweet.


    Once to his master a disciple cried:--
    "To wisdom's pleasant path be thou my guide."
    "Hast thou ne'er loved?" the master answered; "learn
    The ways of love and then to me return."
    Drink deep of earthly love, that so thy lip
    May learn the wine of holier love to sip.
    But let not form too long thy soul entrance:
    Pass o'er the bridge; with rapid feet advance.
    If thou wilt rest, thine ordered journey sped,
    Forbear to linger at the bridge's head.


    In this orchestra full of vain deceit
    The drum of Being, each in turn, we beat.
    Each morning brings new truth to light and fame,
    And on the world falls lustre from a name.
    If in one constant course the ages rolled,
    Full many a secret would remain untold.
    If the sun's splendour never died away,
    Ne'er would the market of the stars be gay.
    If in our gardens endless frost were king,
    No rose would blossom at the kiss of Spring.


    Her face was the garden of Iram, where
    Roses of every hue are fair.
    The dusky moles that enhanced the red
    Were like Moorish boys playing in each rose-bed.
    Of silver that paid no tithe, her chin
    Had a well with the Water of Life therein.
    If a sage in his thirst came near to drink,
    He would feel the spray ere he reached the brink,
    But lost were his soul if he nearer drew,
    For it was a well and a whirlpool too.
    Her neck was of ivory. Thither drawn,
    Came with her tribute to beauty the fawn;
    And the rose hung her head at the gleam of the skin
    Of shoulders fairer than jasmine.
    Her breasts were orbs of a light most pure,
    Twin bubbles new-risen from fount Kafur,[1]
    Two young pomegranates grown on one spray,
    Where bold hope never a ringer might lay.
    The touchstone itself was proved false when it tried
    Her arms' fine silver thrice purified;
    But the pearl-pure amulets fastened there
    Were the hearts of the holy absorbed in prayer.


    "I shall roll up the carpet of life when I see
    Thy dear face again, and shall cease to be,
    For self will be lost in that rapture, and all
    The threads of my thought from my hand will fall;
    Not me wilt thou find, for this self will have fled:
    Thou wilt be my soul in mine own soul's stead.
    All thought of self will be swept from my mind,
    And thee, only thee, in my place shall I find;
    More precious than heaven, than earth more dear,
    Myself were forgotten if thou wert near."


    "Mine eyes have been touched by the Truth's pure ray,
    And the dream of folly has passed away.
    Mine eyes thou hast opened--God bless thee for it!--
    And my heart to the Soul of the soul thou hast knit.

    From a fond strange love thou hast turned my feet
    The Lord of all creatures to know and meet;
    If I bore a tongue in each single hair,
    Each and all should thy praise declare."


    "By the excellent bloom of that cheek which He gave,
    By that beauty which makes the whole world thy slave;
    By the splendour that beams from that beautiful brow,
    That bids the full moon to thy majesty bow;
    By the graceful gait of that cypress, by
    The delicate bow that is bent o'er thine eye;
    By that arch of the temple devoted to prayer,
    By each fine-woven mesh of the coils of thy hair;
    By that charming narcissus, that form arrayed
    In the sheen and glory of silk brocade;
    By that secret thou callest a mouth, by the hair
    Thou callest the waist of that body most fair
    By the musky spots on thy cheek's pure rose,
    By the smile of thy lips when those buds unclose,
    By my longing tears, by the sigh and groan
    That rend my heart as I pine alone;
    By thine absence, a mountain too heavy to bear,
    By my thousand fetters of grief and care;
    By the sovereign sway of my passion, by
    My carelessness whether I live or die;
    Pity me, pity my lovelorn grief:
    Loosen my fetters and grant relief:
    An age has scorched me since over my soul
    The soft sweet air of thy garden stole.
    Be the balm of my wounds for a little; shed
    Sweet scent on the heart where the flowers are dead
    I hunger for thee till my whole frame is weak:
    O give me the food for my soul which I seek."


    In his stalls had Yúsuf a fairy steed,
    A courser through space of no earthly breed;
    Swift as the heavens, and black and white
    With a thousand patches of day and night;
    Now a jetty spot, now a starry blaze,
    Like Time with succession of nights and days.
    With his tail the heavenly Virgo's hair,
    With his hoof the moon, was afraid to compare.
    Each foot with a golden new moon was shod,
    And the stars of its nails struck the earth as he trod.
    When his hoof smote sharp on the rugged flint
    A planet flashed forth from the new moon's dint;
    And a new moon rose in the sky when a shoe
    From the galloping foot of the courser flew.
    Like an arrow shot through its side in the chase.
    He outstripped the game in the deadly race.
    At a single bound he would spring, unpressed,
    With the lightning's speed from the east to the west.


    "O thou who hast broken mine honour's urn,
    Thou stone of offence wheresoever I turn,
    I should smite--for thy falsehood has ruined my rest--
    With the stone thou art made of, the heart in my breast.
    The way of misfortune too surely I trod
    When I bowed down before thee and made thee my god;
    When I looked up to thee with wet eyes in my woe,
    I renounced all the bliss which both worlds can bestow.
    From thy stony dominion my soul will I free,
    And thus shatter the gem of thy power and thee."


    With a hard flint stone, like the Friend,[2] as she spoke,
    In a thousand pieces the image she broke.
    Riven and shattered the idol fell,
    And with her from that moment shall all be well.
    She made her ablution, 'mid penitent sighs,
    With the blood of her heart and the tears of her eyes.
    She bent down her head to the dust; with a moan
    She made supplication to God's pure throne:--
    "O God, who lovest the humble, Thou
    To whom idols, their makers, their servants bow;
    'Tis to the light which Thy splendour lends
    To the idol's face that its worshipper bends.
    Thy love the heart of the sculptor stirs,
    And the idol is graven for worshippers.
    They bow them down to the image, and think
    That they worship Thee as before it they sink.
    To myself, O Lord, I have done this wrong,
    If mine eyes to an idol have turned so long.
         * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Thou hast washed the dark stain of my sin away;
    Now restore the lost blessing for which I pray.
    May I feel my heart free from the brand of its woes,
    And cull from the garden of Yúsuf a rose."


    "Where is thy youth, and thy beauty, and pride?"
    "Gone, since I parted from thee!" she replied.
    "Where is the light of thine eye?" said he,
    "Drowned in blood-tears for the loss of thee."
    "Why is that cypress tree bowed and bent?"
    "By absence from thee and my long lament."
    "Where is thy pearl, and thy silver and gold,
    And the diadem bright on thy head of old?"
    "She who spoke of my loved one," she answered, "shed,
    In the praise of thy beauty, rare pearls on my head.
    In return for those jewels, a recompense meet,
    I scattered my jewels and gold at her feet.
    A crown of pure gold on her forehead I set,
    And the dust that she trod was my coronet.
    The stream of my treasure of gold ran dry;
    My heart is Love's storehouse, and I am I."


    The beauty returned which was ruined and dead,
    And her cheek gained the splendour which long I had fled.
    Again shone the waters which sad years had dried,
    And the rose-bed of youth bloomed again in its pride.
    The musk was restored and the camphor withdrawn,
    And the black night followed the grey of the dawn,
    The cypress rose stately and tall as of old:
    The pure silver was free from all wrinkle and fold.
    From each musky tress fled the traces of white:
    To the black narcissus came beauty and light.


    "The one sole wish of my heart," she replied,
    "Is still to be near thee, to sit by thy side;
    To have thee by day in my happy sight,
    And to lay my cheek on thy foot at night;
    To lie in the shade of the cypress and sip
    The sugar that lies on thy ruby lip;
    To my wounded heart this soft balm to lay;
    For naught beyond this can I wish or pray.
    The streams of thy love will new life bestow
    On the dry thirsty field where its sweet waters flow."


    Thus spoke the Angel: "To thee, O King,
    From the Lord Almighty a message I bring:
    'Mine eyes have seen her in humble mood;
    I heard her prayer when to thee she sued.
    At the sight of her labours, her prayers, and sighs,
    The waves of the sea of my pity rise.
    Her soul from the sword of despair I free,
    And here from My throne I betroth her to thee.'"

[Footnote 1: A well in Paradise.]

[Footnote 2: Abraham.]



    Take a walk in this Baháristán [Abode of Spring]
    That you may see therein Gulistán [rose-groves]
    With gracefulness in each Gulistán,
    Flowers growing and aromatic plants blooming.


    Let every fortunate man who of these blooming trees
    The shade enjoys, or the fruit consumes,
    Act according to the laws of righteousness,
    Walk on the road of generosity and pray thus:
    May _Jámí_, who planted this garden, O Lord,
    Be always full of God and empty of self.[1]
    May he travel on no other path but His, and seek no other _Union_[2]
        but His;
    Nor utter another name but His, nor see another face but His.


    To the Maker!--the rose-grove of the sphere
    Is but one leaf of the flower-garden of. His creation--
    That those who sing His praises
    May have a plate of pearls and jewels full of oblations!
    May the magnitude of His glory shine, and the world of His perfection
        be exalted!

      A thousand chants of salutation and greeting from
      the philomels of the garden-mansion of _Union_ and
      benevolence, who are the musicians of the assembly of
      witnesses and songsters in the delightful house of
      _Ecstasy_[3] and benevolence.


    "FOR THEE"

    For Thee we have hastened across land and sea,
    Have passed over plains, and mountains climbed,
    Have turned away from whatever we met
    Until we found the way to the sanctuary of Union with Thee.


    Boast not of having no pride, because it is more invisible
    Than the mark of an ant's foot on a black rock in a dark night;
    Think it not easy to extirpate it from thy heart,
    For it is more easy to root up a mountain from the earth with a needle.


    Beloved! I cannot be far from Thy door,
    Cannot be satisfied with Paradise and with houris.
    My head is on Thy threshold by Love's command, not for wages.
    Whatever I may do, I cannot bear to be away from this door.


    He is a friend, who although meeting with enmity
    From his friend, only becomes more attached to him.
    If he strikes him with a thousand stones of violence,
    The edifice of his love will only be made more firm by them.


    "A SECRET"

    O boy! A secret necessary to be concealed from a foe
    Thou wilt do well not to reveal it even to a friend.
    I have seen many who in course of capricious time
    Became foes from friends, and amity to enmity turned.


    Cultivate the knowledge which is indispensable to you,
    And seek not that which you can dispense with.
    From the moment you acquire the indispensable knowledge,
    You must not desire to act except in accordance therewith.


    No one repented for keeping a secret under seal,
    But many for having revealed it.
    Remain silent, because to sit quietly with a collected mind
    Is better than speaking what will distract it.


      Alexander degraded one of his officials by removing
      him from a high and employing him in a low post. One
      day this man waited upon Alexander, who asked him
      what he thought of his occupation, and he replied:
      "May the life of my Lord be long! A man is not
      ennobled by a great occupation, but an occupation
      is ennobled by a great man. In every post honesty,
      justice and equity are needed." Alexander was pleased
      with this opinion, and re-installed him in his former



    Every [wise], maxim by the mouth and teeth is a jewel:
    Happy is he who has made of his breast a casket of jewels;
    A sage is a treasury of the jewels of philosophy,
    Do not separate thyself from this treasure.


      The favourites of Sultáns are like people climbing
      up a precipitous mountain, and falling off from
      it in consequence of the quakes of anger and the
      vicissitudes of time. There is no doubt that the fall
      of those who are higher up is more disastrous than
      the coming down of those who are in lower positions.


      A culprit having been brought before the Khalifa, he
      ordered the punishment due to the transgression to be
      administered. The prisoner said: "O Commander of the
      Faithful, to take vengeance for a crime is justice,
      but to pass it over is virtue; and the magnanimity of
      the Prince of the Faithful is more exalted, than that
      he should disregard what is higher, and descend to
      what is lower." The Khalifa, being pleased with his
      argument, condoned his transgression.


      A woman who belonged to the faction which had risen
      in arms against Hajaj, having been brought before
      him, he spoke to her, but she looked down, and fixing
      her eyes upon the ground, neither replied, nor
      glanced at him. One who was present said: "O woman,
      the Amir is speaking, and thou lookest away?" She
      replied: "I am ashamed before God the Most High, to
      look on a man, upon whom God the Most High does not


      Alexander having been asked by what means he had
      attained such dominion, power, and glory at so
      youthful an age and during so short a reign, replied:
      "By conciliating foes till they turned away from the
      path of enmity, and by strengthening the alliances
      with friends till they became firm in the bonds of



    The price of a man consists not in silver and gold;
    The value of a man is his power and virtue.
    Many a slave has by acquiring virtue
    Attained much greater power than a gentleman,
    And many a gentleman has for want of virtue
    Become _inferior_[4] to his own slave.


      It is on record that 'Abdullah Ibn Ja'far (may Allah
      be pleased with him!) intended one day to travel,
      and approaching a date-grove where he had seen some
      persons, he alighted. The guardian of the trees
      happened to be a black slave, to whom two loaves
      of bread had just been sent from the house; and as
      a dog stood near him, he threw one of the loaves
      to it, which having been devoured by the animal,
      he gave away also the other, and the dog likewise
      consumed it. Then 'Abdullah (may Allah be pleased
      with him!) asked what his daily allowance was. The
      slave replied: "What thou hast seen." "Then why hast
      thou not kept it for thyself?" "The dog is a stranger
      here; I thought he had come from a long distance and
      was hungry, wherefore I did not mean to leave him in
      that condition." "Then what wilt thou eat to-day?"
      "I shall fast." Then 'Abdullah said to himself:
      "Everybody is blaming me for my liberality, and this
      slave is more liberal than myself." Then he purchased
      both the slave and the date-grove, presenting him
      with the latter, and emancipating him.


    O brave man, learn thou bravery!
    From men of the world learn manliness.
    Preserve thy heart from the remorse of remorse-seekers;
    Preserve thy tongue from the blame of evil-speakers.
    Requite with good him who did thee evil,
    Because by that evil he injured his own prosperity.
    If thou makest beneficence thy rule
    The good thou doest will return only to thee.


      One night a great mosque in Egypt, having caught
      fire, was burnt. The Musulmans suspected that
      Christians had committed the act, and in revenge
      put fire to their houses, which consumed them. The
      Sultán of Egypt had the persons captured who burnt
      these houses, and having assembled them in one spot,
      ordered notes to be distributed among them, on some
      of which a sentence of death to the bearer was
      written, on some to cut off his hands, and on some
      to whip him. These notes having been thrown to the
      culprits and been picked up by them, each of them
      underwent the punishment which had fallen to his lot.
      One, to whom the sentence of death had been awarded,
      said: "I do not fear to be killed, but I have a
      mother, of whom no one will take care except myself."
      Near him stood a man who was to be punished by
      whippings but they exchanged their notes, the latter
      saying: "I have no mother, let me be killed instead
      of him, and him be whipped instead of me," and this
      was done.


      An Arab of the desert welcomed the arrival of an Arab
      chief in a Qasída recited by him, which terminated in
      the following [Arabic] distich:

    Stretch out thy hand to me, the palm whereof
    Distributes largesses, and its back is kissed.

      Accordingly the generous man held out his hand to be
      kissed by the Arab, whereon he said by way of a joke:
      "The hairs upon thy lips have scratched my hand."
      The Arab replied: "What injury can the bristles of a
      porcupine inflict upon the paw of a formidable lion?"
      This sally pleased the liberal man, who said: "I like
      this better than the Qasída," and ordered him to be
      rewarded for it with 1,000 and for the sally 3,000



    By God, who openly and secretly
    Is worshipped by men and fairies,
    I swear that of all whom I see in the world
    No one is dearer to me than thou.


    O thou who sawest me, and residest in my heart,
    Soul and body, all now belong to thee.
    If my heart inclines to thee it is no wonder;
    It must be a stone, not a heart, which turns not to thee!

      'The girl said that now her only wish in the world
      was that they should put their hands round each
      other's waists, and eat sugar from the lips of each
      other. The youth replied: "My desire is the same,
      but what can I do? As God the Most High says: 'The
      intimate friends on that day shall be enemies unto
      one another, except the pious,' which means that
      on the day of resurrection friendship of friends
      will become enmity, except the friendship of the
      abstemious, which will increase the attachment. I do
      not wish that on the morn of resurrection the edifice
      of our love be impaired, and our friendship be turned
      into enmity." After saying these words, he departed,
      reciting the following:

    O heart, abandon this love of two days,
    Because a love of two days profits not;
    Choose a love wherewith on the day of reckoning
    Thou mayest abide in the eternal abode.


    O heart, when a time of sorrow overtakes thee
    There will be no sorrow if thou hast a kind friend;
    For a day of trouble a friend is required,
    Because in times of comfort, friends are not scarce.


      A beautiful woman had many admirers, whose attentions
      were so assiduous that the very street in which she
      lived became thronged by her visitors, but when her
      attractions disappeared and she had become ugly, her
      lovers abandoned her. Then I said to one of them:
      "She is the same friend as before, with the same
      eyes, brows, lips, but perhaps her stature is more
      tall and her body more stout. It is faithless and
      treacherous on thy part to neglect her." He replied:
      "Alas for what thou sayest! That which ravished the
      heart, and enthralled the senses, was the spirit
      which resided in her form, in the gracefulness of
      her limbs, the smoothness of her skin, and in the
      pleasantness of her voice, but as that spirit has
      departed from the figure, how can I love a dead body,
      or fondle a withered rose?"



    If a contented man jokes, blame him not,
    It is a trade licit by the laws of reason and religion;
    The heart is a mirror, and vexation the rust on it:
    That rust is best polished away by jocularity.


      A weaver, who had left something in trust with a
      learned man, desired again to have it back some time
      afterwards, and going to ask for it, he saw the man
      sitting in front of his house on the professional
      couch, with a number of his disciples in front of
      him. He said: "Mullana, I am in need of my deposit."
      He replied: "Wait an hour till I finish my lecture."
      The weaver accordingly took a seat, and, as the
      lecture proceeded, he observed that the Mullana often
      shook his head; and thinking that the imparting of
      the lesson consisted in this, he said: "O professor,
      arise and let me take thy place till thy return, and
      wag my head till thou hast brought out my deposit,
      because I am in haste."


    If the gentleman fails to use the hair clipper
    Daily upon the hirsute countenance,
    But few days will elapse when his face
    Will, on account of the hair, pretend to be his head.


      A mendicant begged at the door of a house, whereon
      the landlord apologised, saying that the people had
      gone out, and the beggar rejoined: "I want a morsel
      of bread, and net the people of the house."


      A man was visited by a stranger who began
      complaining, and said: "Is it possible that thou
      knowest me not, and dost not consider my claims
      upon thee?" The man was amazed, and replied: "I
      know nothing of what thou sayest." He continued:
      "My father desired to wed thy mother, and if he had
      married her we would be brothers." The man rejoined:
      "By Allah! This relationship will be the occasion for
      my becoming thy heir, and thou mine!"


      A man said his prayers and then began his
      supplications, desiring to enter Paradise and to
      be delivered from the fire of Hell. An old woman,
      who happened to be in his rear, and heard him,
      said: "O Lord, cause me to share in whatever he
      supplicates for." The man, who had listened, then
      said: "O Lord, hang me on a gibbet, and cause me
      to die of scourging." The hag continued: "O Lord,
      pardon me and preserve me from what he asked for."
      The man then turned to her and said: "What a
      wonderfully-unpleasant partner this is! She desires
      to share with me in all that gives rest and pleasure,
      but refuses to be my partner in distress and misery."


      A poet brought to a critic a composition, every
      distich of which he had plagiarised from a different
      collection of poems, and every rhetorical figure from
      another author. The critic said: "For a wonder thou
      hast brought a line of camels, but if the string were
      untied, every one of the herd would rush away in
      another direction."


      A poet paid a visit to a doctor, and said: "Something
      has become knotted in my heart which makes me
      uncomfortable; it makes also my limbs wither, and
      causes the hairs on my body to stand on end." The
      physician, who was a shrewd man, asked: "Very likely
      thou has not yet recited to any one thy latest
      verses." The poet replied: "Just so." The doctor
      continued: "Then recite them." He complied, was
      requested to repeat them, and again to rehearse them
      for the third time. After he had done so, the doctor
      said: "Now arise, for thou art saved. This poetry
      had become knotted in thy heart, and the dryness of
      it took effect upon the outside; but, as thou hast
      relieved thy heart, thou art cured."

[Footnote 1: There is a clever play on the author's name, which also
means a _goblet_.]

[Footnote 2: The seventh degree of the Súfís.]

[Footnote 3: The fifth degree of the Súfís.]

[Footnote 4: In the Persian, _without a shield_.]

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